Released on 03 September 2015.

Read extract

The Thing about Jellyfish

For ages 9-11
4.07 based on 15637 ratings & 2581 reviews on

2017 Short-listed

UKLA 7-11 Category


It's peculiar how no-words can be better than words. How silence can say more than noise, or a person's absence can occupy even more space than their presence did.

Suzy is twelve when her best friend, Franny, drowns one summer at the beach. It takes two days for the news to reach Suzy, and it's not something that she can accept: Franny has always been a strong swimmer, from the day they met in swim class when they were just five. How can someone all of a sudden, just no longer be there?

Suzy realizes that they must have got it wrong: Franny didn't just drown - she was stung by a poisonous jellyfish. This makes a lot more sense to Suzy's logical mind than a random drowning - cause: a jellyfish sting; effect: death.

Suzy's journey to acceptance is quiet - she resolves to either say something important, or say nothing at all. But it's also bursting with bittersweet humour, heartbreaking honesty, big ideas and small details.

The Thing about Jellyfish is an astonishing debut novel from Ali Benjamin, and is perfect for fans of Wonder, Counting by 7s and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

In the media

An accomplished debut that skillfully charts the pressure growing up puts on friendships
The Bookseller
This is a heartbreakingly touching debut about friendship, loss, fear and love that is funny, clever and beautifully written
Daily Mail
the kind of book you just want to hug it's so good
Irish Independent